he Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set a cap of 200MHz as the maximum amount of Spectrum an applicant can acquire in the 3.5GHz band for the deployment of 5G network across the country.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports this is contained in the final Information Memorandum on 3.5 GHz spectrum auction published by the NCC on Friday.
This means that MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications which had earlier won the 100MHz auction in December 2021 are eligible to participate in this second auction of 5G spectrum.
Airtel that lost in the first 5G spectrum auction; Glo, 9mobile and other smaller network operators are expected to participate in this second auction.
Recall that NCC held the first 5G auction in December 2021 with MTN and Mafab dislodging Airtel Nigeria to emerge winners in 11 rounds of bidding that lasted eight hours.
In the final Information Memorandum, the Commission placed a cap of 200MHz as the maximum amount of spectrum an applicant can acquire in the 3.5GHz band.
A licensee with an existing assignment in the 3.5GHz band, i.e. MTN and Mafab are eligible to bid for only one (1) Lot of 100MHz in this second 5G auction.
However, applicants without spectrum holding in the 3.5GHz band, including Airtel, Glo, 9mobile and others, are eligible to bid for the two Lots on offer.
The final Information Memorandum will guide the upcoming auction of the remaining lots of the 3.5 GHz spectrum for the deployment of 5G services in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Commission had published the draft of the Information Memorandum and requested stakeholders to make comments and inputs into the document to enrich its contents.
Subsequently, stakeholders’ comments were collated and discussed at a Stakeholder’s Engagement forum hosted by NCC on November 15, 2022 at Marriott Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to the Information Memorandum for the second 5G auction, the Commission will not reserve Spectrum for any group or entity, stressing that reservation is considered discriminatory and capable of creating an uneven playing field.
Barring any last-minute changes, the second 5G spectrum auction will hold on 19th December 2022 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
However, to qualify to bid in the auction, an applicant does not have to be a licensed network operator in Nigeria, opening the field for new entrants in the telecom sector.
Any successful bidder without a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) will be issued one and is expected to pay the specified licence fee in addition to the auction winning bid price.
The tenure for the UASL will be Ten (10) years, subject to renewal, according to the Information Memorandum.
TNG learnt the reserve price for the auction, being the minimum price for one lot of 100MHz TDD for a ten (10) year licence tenure, has been fixed at US$273.6 million or its equivalent in Naira at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rates at the time of the auction.
Meanwhile, the fee for the ten (10) year spectrum licence will be determined at the auction. The opening bid will be an increment higher than the reserve price in the opening round of the auction.
A successful bidder at the auction will be expected to pay a sum equal to the amount of the winning bid minus the IBD, as well as an operational Licence fee (where applicable).
An applicant must not have a relationship with another applicant. A relationship is defined as a situation where an applicant has a direct or indirect ownership stake of 10% or more in another Applicant.
Licensed operators participating in the process must be in Good Regulatory Standing with the NCC.